Scriptural Qualifications of a Deacon

(1 Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:3)

  • Full of the Holy Ghost.
  • Sober-minded.
  • Not a drunkard.
  • Truthful and honest. Not deceitful.
  • Not greedy of money.
  • Believing and living the true doctrine.
  • Faithful.
  • Proven. Not a novice but experienced.
  • Full of wisdom.
  • Of honest and good report.
  • Blameless.
  • The husband of one living wife (polygamy/adultery prohibited).
  • Wife is to be sober, dignified, faithful, and not a gossip.
  • Children are in subjection.
  • Home is in proper care and order.

Ministers and Money

The apostles had the congregation in Jerusalem choose seven men to handle the financial affairs of the church. This came about when the Grecians were complaining about unfair treatment in the charitable distributions. While not always possible, it is the better part of wisdom for a minister to step back from being a trustee or from dealing with the financial affairs of his local congregation to avoid potential snares of the enemy. It frees the minister to be able to preach without regard to who is financially supporting him. After the pattern of the scripture, ministers should, as much as possible, allow men of good report among the congregation to oversee the financial affairs of their local congregations.

One Order of Ministry

In the Scripture, there is an ordination for elders and an ordination for deacons. When a minister is ordained, he is ordained as an elder. In the early morning church, while there were different gifts and offices and there were local ministers and general ministers laboring in the larger field, there was one order of ministers. The word elder is an umbrella term for bishop, presbyter, overseer, etc., and is sometimes used interchangeably in the scripture. Titus 1:5 uses the word elder (presbuteros=presbyters) and then proceeds to give the qualifications using the word bishop (episkopos=overseer) in verse seven. It is one and the same office and was only polluted by the apostasy that would come at a later date. On this subject, commentator Adam Clarke stated: “It appears that those who are called elders in this place are the same as those termed bishops in Titus 1:7. We have many proofs that bishops and elders were of the same order in the apostolic church, though afterward they became distinct.”Read more

Challenge

[Bro. Ostis Wilson, in referencing Acts 13:1-4 when Barnabas and Saul were separated for the work.]

“This was a sacred, solemn charge to them and they fasted and prayed before they did it, even after the Holy Ghost had spoken to them. They wanted to be certain they were not mistaken. Ah, brethren, could we be a little admonished at this point and consider our ordination services as a more serious and solemn responsibility than we sometimes do. I feel deeply that I myself can.”

Biblical Qualifications for a Bishop

1 Timothy 3:1-7

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality,  apt to teach;
Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.